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mar 06 2012

6 Neat Niche Hotel Brands

At the Yotel in Heathrow. (Courtesy bonnieann1815/Flickr)

Last week, InterContinental introduced an interesting new health-and-fitness-minded brand of hotels called EVEN. But it's hardly the only niche hotel brand out there.

The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is one of the world's biggest hotel companies, best known for brands such as Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Staybridge Suites, and Holiday Inn Express. The company has also dabbled in the "boutique hotel" trend with Hotel Indigo, and now, it is launching another niche brand, EVEN.

oct 29 2010

Will trains replace planes in the next century?

(A. Christine Maxfield)

Imagine that you were able to travel from New York to London in just 54 minutes…by train. As amazing as that sounds, talented engineers are saying that it's not impossible to design a magnetically levitated train that would zip at supersonic speeds through a floating tunnel 150 to 300 feet below the Atlantic. Yes, it would require an exorbitant amount of money (up to $50 million dollars per mile), and of course there are the safety concerns (traveling at supersonic speeds of 4,000-plus mph can create a sonic boom that would wreak havoc on the structure). But according to Frank Davidson, a former MIT researcher, "A transatlantic tunnel will be done. We just have to be as interested in it as we are in getting to the Moon." (Popular Science)

apr 22 2010

Family travel: Switzerland trains for half price

The train between Zweisimmen and Montreux (Courtesy Rail Europe)

If you have a family trip to Switzerland planned in the next six months, now's the time to book train travel: until April 27, select Swiss rail passes are 50 percent off for any two adults traveling with children.

The deal, from Rail Europe, Swiss Travel System, and Switzerland Tourism, applies to the Swiss Pass, valid for eight consecutive days of travel, and the Swiss Flexi Pass, valid for any three days of travel within a month. Half-off rates for the Swiss Pass start at $193 per person for second class, and rates for the Swiss Flexi Pass start at $128 per person for second class. Kids up to age 16 ride free under the Swiss Family Card.

sep 22 2009

Insider tip: Chocolate in Zurich

(Chris Warde-Jones/The New York Times/Redux)

Winner of the "best travel and food blog" award from Lonely Planet this year (as well as best travel blog award in the 2008 Weblog Awards) is Kerrin Rousset's My Kugelhopf. Rousset is an ex-pat who travels the world with an an especially sharp eye for sweet treats and cultural trends. She's based in Zürich, so we couldn't think of anyone better to ask for a tip on a great spot to visit in her city:

aug 30 2009

Switzerland's trendiest neighborhood

(Map by Newhouse Design)

Kreis 4, Zürich

This red-light district has been transformed into the city's style hub. Boutique Saus&Braus; sells the work of Swiss designers like Alma Rumpke, who turns bicycle tubes into belts (sausbraus.ch). Up-and-coming artists exhibit their work at Message Salon Downtown's openings (likeyou.com/messagesalon). By day, Forum is a favorite lunch spot; on Friday and Saturday nights, DJs transform the space with hip-hop, electronica, and blues (forumzh.ch).

aug 19 2008

Coming soon: A new Swiss park for feeding the bears

Bern, Switzerland, is creating a new downtown park for its resident bears. The capital city is expanding its landmark Bear Pit into a one-and-a-half-acre BearPark, which is set to open in October 2009.

The new bear terrain will extend from the current enclosures (which have been in the same location since 1857) down to the banks of the Aare River. It will include bear-friendly landscaping, such as two forested areas, three caves, and a large pool in which Pedro and Tana, Bern's two resident Pyrenean brown bears, can swim and play.

jun 18 2008

Affordable Europe: Scenic train routes

Unlike air travel, a train journey across Europe is an interesting experience in itself, not mere transportation. Here are routes worth doing for the scenery alone, but which won't break the bank. Take a bottle of wine along (you're free to do that by train!) and enjoy the ride:

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